My son is diagnosed with Asperger’s and my daughter was diagnosed with moderate autism. Just recently my therapist told me that I fall on the spectrum too.
Being told that was like a door I had been pushing at finally opening and letting in the fresh air, I knew it I was different, I knew it in my bones since before I had my son, I just didn’t know how to speak about these things.
One of the biggest fears I see that autistic people or parents of autistic children have is that they’ll never be able to have a romantic relationship.
I’m here to dispel that myth by sharing how my marriage works. I’m married to a neuro-typical (“normal”) husband with no psychological issues whatsoever, and no prior experience at all in dealing with people with psychological problems.
So much information about autism and the Autism Awareness Movement is geared toward young children. News flash: adults have autism, too. I’m one of them. “But you seem so ‘normal,’ and you’re married! You can’t have autism!” Exclamations like these always follow whenever I tell people that I’m autistic. It’s true: I probably don’t fit into your idea of what it means to be autistic — I’m married, I had a career before I was diagnosed with a bone disease that ended it — but it’s something that affects me every moment of every day.
My ten-year-old daughter with Asperger’s syndrome just got her period. When my daughter was diagnosed several years ago as being on the Autism spectrum, I only thought so far as the toddler/elementary school years. Everyday things like getting dressed and playing with other kids were already such challenges, I just couldn’t wrap my head around what would happen when my daughter, you know, becomes a woman.
With the birth of our son we joined the ranks of that undefined, amorphous, limitless group of “special needs parents.” Within the first days of the NICU I knew there would be challenges, but I could not ever imagine the constituency of belonging to such a group. A stat perhaps. A label. A stigma?
Fans of The Princess Bride will love this list of 17 ways the film has helped her parent children with autism from Bec, author of the blog Snagglebox. Bec has a fifteen-year-old and a twelve-year-old son who both have autism, and has been able to use lessons from the family fave in her favor.
Having three children with high-functioning autism requires daily structure on my part. I am an organizational freak to a fault, but even I love me some “organized chaos” from time to time. My kids, however, aren’t so fond of not knowing what’s coming up or what’s going on. So I made them this scheduling area by the front door to not only keep them in the loop, but make it easy enough for me to not feel committed to some intricate details that I usually give up on after a week.
My stepson, A, is 11 and autistic, and my younger son, M, is four. M has just started to question why A isn’t “like his friend’s big brother.” When M asked “Why won’t A play with me? Does he not like me?” it struck us that we really didn’t know how to explain autism in a way that a four-year-old would understand.